November 11, 2002
Vet treats teens to dinner
Photo by Dorian
Back row, l-r) Jason Meersman, Johnny McCormick, Kyle Kuttler, Ryan Nelson, John D’Amelio. (Front row, l-r) Chelsea Dodds, Amie Shah, Megan Wellnitz, Mitra Barahimi, Alissa Wiley.
by Deborah Stone
Human interest stories that warm the heart and give hope to humanity are treasured in this world of increasing violence and hostility. Such stories can be found in every community, but unfortunately, they're often hidden by other, more sensational news happenings.
Last month, one of these wonderful gems occurred here in Woodinville and it deserves to be shared with others, if only to demonstrate the thoughtful kindness of strangers.
It was homecoming night for Inglemoor High School, and sophomore Jason Meersman along with his date and four other couples got dressed up in their finery for an evening of celebration. They hired a white limo for the evening and went for dinner at Italianissimo Restorante in Woodinville. Their meals were delicious and the restaurant staff was very attentive to the group, as it was very well-behaved and respectful.
At the end of their dinner, while awaiting the bill, the students were told that there would be no check. Instead, they were informed that a gentleman at the next table had decided to pick up their tab.
"Our mouths dropped open when we heard this news," says Meersman. "We didn't believe it because this kind of thing only happens in the movies. We were shocked and amazed and didn't know what to think."
The manager of the restaurant assured the group that this was not a joke and then later, the owner/chef came over to the table and reiterated the same information. Jason and his friends went over to the gentleman's table where he sat with his wife to thank him profusely for this act of generosity and kindness.
"The man explained his actions with a story," says Meersman. "He told us that he was fighting the war in Vietnam when it was time for his school prom and he never got to attend this special event. Since he missed what would have been a memorable occasion, he said it would be his pleasure to pay for our dinner. His wife was teary-eyed at this story and we all felt very emotional."
The group requested the man's address in order to send him a thank you note and a picture of themselves at the dance.
They left the restaurant, unable to stop talking about the situation and shared the story with everyone they met later that evening.
"I've never had something like this happen to me before," adds Meersman. "It really made me stop and think about people and gave me faith in humanity."